Attorney General Merrick Garland has reversed one of former AG Jeff Sessions’ biggest immigration decisions, Matter of Castro-Tum 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018).
With Castro-Tum, Sessions overturned decades of precedent by ending the authority of the Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Judges to grant administrative closure—a docketing tool generally used to take cases off the active docket while other agencies process relevant applications or while higher priority cases are adjudicated.
AG Garland, on July 15, overruled Castro-Tum in its entirety. Matter of Cruz-Valdez, 28 I&N Dec. 326 (A.G. 2021). While the Department of Justice conducts rulemaking on the issue, adjudicators are instructed to use the standards in effect prior to Castro-Tum.
This decision opens new alternatives to many in removal proceedings. For those who are eligible to consular process with a waiver of unlawful presence, they can seek administrative closure to file their waiver applications before leaving the country. Those whose cases are not considered priorities under current ICE guidance can choose to seek administrative closure rather than dismissal, if doing so is advantageous to them (usually because administrative closure allows certain people with applications pending in immigration court to continue renewing employment authorization documents).
The attorneys at Joseph & Hall will be analyzing what options Cruz-Valdez might open for each of our clients in removal proceedings. If you would like to schedule a consultation on what the Cruz-Valdez decision might mean for your immigration case or the case of a loved one, please contact our office at 303-297-9171.
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